Stanley Cup Finals Game 1: Boston 4 – Blues 2
The wait is finally over. After 10 days of rest and practice, the Bruins finally got back into game mode as the Stanley Cup Finals got underway. Early on in the first period, the Bruins had some sharp moments, like Jake DeBrusk stealing a puck in the neutral zone and getting a breakaway opportunity, but he would not be able to beat the Blues’ Jordan Binnington. Other than a few chances, the Bruins just looked rusty. It will get better as they get back to game speed, but it needs to come quick, because this game could get away from them quickly if they play as slow as they did in much of the first period. With just over seven minutes played in the first period, the first goal of the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals would be scored…by the Blues. Brayden Schenn would have the puck land on his stick as he skated through the slot and he was able to beat Tuukka Rask to take the early lead. The rest of the period saw the Bruins get two power play opportunities, but they were unable to capitalize on them. Throughout the playoffs, the Bruins have had a tremendous power play, leading statistically in that category, but so far they haven’t kept it going. It’s early though, they can figure it out, maybe in the second period.
In the second period, the Bruins definitely looked like they were shaking the rust off. The passes were much crisper, the speed was much better, and the physicality was back. Unfortunately, before they would wake up completely, the Blues would double their lead after a horrible David Pastrnak giveaway, Vladimir Tarasenko scored. Almost instantly after the goal, the Bruins looked like they were coming to life. With just under three minutes played in the period, the Bruins would finally get on the board. Sean Kuraly skated below the right circle and saucer passed to the front of the net where Connor Clifton would incredibly get the puck past Binnington.
Instantly after the Bruins would get on the board, they followed it up with great shift after great shift. Eventually they would land on their fourth power play of the night and it looked like more of the same. Late in the power play, Charlie McAvoy would take it into his own hands and not only make the zone entry, he would skate right into the slot and fire a wrister past Binnington to tie the game.
The period would end with the Bruins definitely playing better than the Blues. In the period the Bruins would outshoot the Blues 18-3 and it was very obvious. Eventually we would go to the third period with the game tied at 2. It continued to be all Bruins to start the period and just over five minutes in, the Bruins got the lead for the first time. There was a puck battle in front of the net and Noel Acciari was able to spin and get the puck to Sean Kuraly who would tap it in.
As the third period went on the game got very physical and the Blues got under the skin of Torrey Krug, but he got his revenge with this huge hit.
Eventually the Blues in an attempt to tie the game, they would pull Binnington for the extra attacker, but they still couldn’t get anything going. Brad Marchand would put one in the empty net for the 4-2 lead and the Bruins would take Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.
Before I wrap this all up I want to point out that Marcus Johannson was by far the best player on the ice in this game. While most of the team looked very rusty in the first period, he looked great. For much of the period he was the only reason the Bruins had scoring opportunities. When the rest of the team got it going, he got even better. He was rewarded with the second star of the game and it was well deserved, without him tonight, this is a much different game.
We move on to Game 2 in Boston on Wednesday night at 8pm.
Videos courtesy of NHL.com